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UC Health and St. Elizabeth's prepare for COVID-19 vaccine delivery, deployment

Posted at 11:33 PM, Dec 12, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-13 14:12:39-05

CINCINNATI — As Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine makes its way across the country this week, UC Health and St. Elizabeth's Edgewood campus are preparing for their allotted batch and the rollout that will come after for frontline healthcare workers.

Teams spent Saturday working to schedule vaccination slots for workers. The vaccine is volunteers only, but demand is so high from UC's emergency room doctors, nurses and ICU teams that leaders expect this first round of the vaccine could be gone in three or four days.

The Pfizer vaccine is going to just 10 places in Ohio and 11 sites in Kentucky.

UC Health said they expect 975 doses at the hospital, with only those who come into contact with COVID-19 daily invited to receive the vaccine. Those getting shots next week will also need a second dose before New Year's Eve. That shipment will arrive later, but is on the way soon.

"I think lots of people want to be part of a solution and so I do think the vast majority of Cincinnatians are gonna do what is necessary for our community," said Dr. Carl Fichtenbaum, professor of medicine at UC.

Tuesday is the earliest UC Health could begin COVID-19 vaccinations, and it's not yet clear when average citizens can receive the vaccine.

Physicians at St. Elizabeth's Edgewood campus are anticipating they'll receive doses in the coming week as well. Although it's still unclear how infectious someone with the vaccine could be, the key is reducing the impact of symptoms that have caused nearly 300,000 to die across the United States.

"We don't know yet if you'd still be able to carry it after vaccination," said Dr. Philip Hartman, a physician with the St. Elizabeth hospital system. "But we do know that your chance of developing a clinically significant illness drops by about 95 to 90 percent, which is very significant. That's an excellent vaccine. The safety profile looks good as well. So it's exciting that we have it coming up."